How to Make a CAPM in Excel: Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) in Excel is a straightforward process that involves inputting financial data and running calculations to determine the expected return of an asset. This model is widely used in finance to assess the risk and potential return on investments. After completing this task, you’ll have a clear understanding of the expected return on a particular investment, which is critical for making informed investment decisions.

After you’ve created your CAPM in Excel, you’ll be able to compare the expected return to the required rate of return to determine if an investment is worth pursuing. This can help you make more informed decisions about where to allocate your funds.


The Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) is a financial model that aims to price securities by assessing risk and expected return. It’s a concept every investor should grasp, as it plays a critical role in investment strategy and asset allocation. CAPM helps investors understand the relationship between risk and return, providing a way to assess an investment’s viability.

So, why is this important, and who needs to know about it? Well, if you’re an investor, financial analyst, or anyone interested in the stock market, CAPM is your bread and butter. It helps you estimate the expected return on an investment given its risk compared to the market. With CAPM, you can compare different investment opportunities and decide where to put your money for the best potential return. This model is especially useful in today’s volatile market, where understanding risk is just as crucial as understanding potential gains.

CAPM is based on the premise that investors need to be compensated in two ways: time value of money and risk. The model uses the risk-free rate (usually the yield on government bonds) and the investment’s beta (a measure of how much the investment’s price moves in relation to the market) to calculate the expected return. Knowing how to create a CAPM in Excel can give you a powerful tool for making investment decisions.

Step by Step Tutorial: Creating a CAPM in Excel

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re setting out to achieve. By following these steps, you’ll create a CAPM in Excel that can be used to calculate the expected return on an investment. This involves inputting financial data, calculating the asset’s beta, and using the CAPM formula to find the expected return.

Step 1: Gather Financial Data

Collect the necessary financial data for the asset and the market index.

When creating a CAPM, you’ll need the risk-free rate, the return on the market index, and the asset’s historical returns to calculate its beta. This data can be found on financial websites or databases.

Step 2: Calculate Beta

Use Excel to calculate the asset’s beta based on its historical returns compared to the market index.

Beta is a measure of an asset’s volatility in relation to the market. A beta greater than one means the asset is more volatile than the market, and a beta less than one means it is less volatile. You can calculate beta in Excel by using the ‘SLOPE’ function, which compares the asset’s returns to the market index’s returns.

Step 3: Input the CAPM Formula

Enter the CAPM formula into Excel: Expected Return = Risk-Free Rate + Beta * (Market Return – Risk-Free Rate).

This step involves using Excel to perform the CAPM calculation. The formula calculates the expected return by taking the risk-free rate and adding the product of the asset’s beta and the market risk premium (the difference between the market return and the risk-free rate).


Accurate Risk AssessmentCAPM provides a quantitative measure of an asset’s risk in relation to the market, which is vital for making informed investment decisions.
Comparison of Investment OpportunitiesUsing CAPM allows investors to compare different investment opportunities by providing a standardized expected return based on risk.
Easy to Use and UnderstandOnce set up, CAPM in Excel is a user-friendly tool that simplifies complex financial calculations for investors.


Relies on Historical DataCAPM assumes that historical market behavior will predict future returns, which may not always be accurate.
Overlooks Unsystematic RiskThe model considers only market-related risk (systematic risk) and ignores specific risks related to the company or asset (unsystematic risk).
Market Efficiency AssumptionCAPM assumes that markets are efficient and that all information is already reflected in asset prices, which may not be true in all cases.

Additional Information

When creating a CAPM in Excel, it’s essential to understand that the model makes several assumptions. It assumes that investors hold diversified portfolios and only require compensation for market-wide systemic risks, not individual asset risks. Also, CAPM presumes that markets are efficient, meaning that all available information is already factored into asset prices.

However, despite these assumptions, CAPM remains a widely-used and valuable tool for evaluating investment opportunities. It simplifies complex risk-return relationships into a single, understandable figure: the expected return. With this number in hand, investors have a clearer idea of whether an investment is likely to meet their return requirements given the level of risk they’re willing to take.

Remember, the key to making the most out of your CAPM in Excel is to ensure the accuracy of your input data. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say. So double-check your numbers and sources, and keep your data up to date to maintain the reliability of your CAPM calculations.


  1. Gather financial data for the asset and the market index.
  2. Calculate the asset’s beta using historical returns.
  3. Input the CAPM formula in Excel to determine the expected return.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CAPM formula?

The CAPM formula is: Expected Return = Risk-Free Rate + Beta * (Market Return – Risk-Free Rate).

How do I find an asset’s beta?

You can calculate an asset’s beta by comparing its historical returns to the market index’s returns using the ‘SLOPE’ function in Excel.

Can CAPM be used for non-stock investments?

Yes, CAPM can be used to calculate expected returns for various types of investments, as long as you can determine the asset’s beta.

Is the risk-free rate always the yield on government bonds?

While the yield on government bonds is commonly used as the risk-free rate, any investment considered to have zero risk could technically be used.

Does CAPM work in all market conditions?

CAPM is based on several assumptions, such as market efficiency, which may not hold true in all market conditions. It’s a useful tool but should be used alongside other analysis techniques.


Creating a CAPM in Excel is an invaluable skill for anyone involved in the world of finance. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting, understanding how to calculate expected returns through this model can significantly enhance your decision-making process.

Remember, while CAPM is a powerful tool, it’s not without its limitations and should be used as part of a broader investment analysis strategy. Keep your data accurate, stay informed on market conditions, and let CAPM in Excel be one of many tools in your investment toolkit.

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